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sargeant albon williams f1 teammates

Vowles: Albon is performing, Sargeant no typical F1 rookie

Vowles: Albon is performing, Sargeant no typical F1 rookie sargeant albon williams f1 teammates

Williams F1 Team ‘rookie’ boss James Vowles inherited his current driver line-up of Alex Albon and Logan Sargeant and aims to make the most of both of them. One who is impressive on every level, and one that ain’t.

Vowles arrived at Grove in January to take up the Williams Team Principal office, the hallowed headquarters of the great team Sir Frank Williams built, but fell on hard times. And has remained there for the best part of two decades. But there are new investors, with fresh ambitions whose intent was illustrated when they struck a deal to have the highly-rated Mercedes man change teams.

With Albon re-establishing himself in F1 last season, after a year on the sidelines due to a pasting by Red Bull teammate, and phenomenon Max Verstappen. Two F1 seasons with Max-Alex combo was enough for Helmut Marko to pull the plug on the quiet-spoken Thai driver.

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In the Silly Season musical chairs ahead of the 2022 F1 season, with George Russell recalled from Williams to partner Lewis Hamilton at Mercedes, Williams arrived with a F1 lifeline for Albon which he grabbed with both hands. Proceeding to rebuild his reputation by putting the Williams, often, where it does not belong. His shares are certainly on the rise.

Albon versus Sargeant at Williams has not been pretty

Albon-Canada-2-2023

In stark contrast, American rookie Sargeant has been a disappointment, well down on Albon’s pace most weekends, much in the same vein as Nyck de Vries who too is struggling in his first full year in F1 with Yuki Tsunoda as his benchmark.

Of the rookie trio, Oscar Piastri is the only one who has made a strong case to remain in F1, the other two not so much, which triggered the question to Vowles: Logan is not doing as well as Albon, what is your point of view on this?

The Williams TP explained: “Logan… at the end of last year didn’t even know that he would drive until Abu Dhabi. Until that point, Logan had completed no testing in a Formula 1 car and then was thrown into Bahrain.

“He’s not your typical rookie. If you take some of the rookies on the grid today, they’ve done 11,000 kilometers of F1 testing before they drive the car. That is where we have a problem because Logan is still trying to learn all that development cycle throughout.

“That combined with the fact that this beginning of the season has had five street races… I didn’t realize until you look at the calendar afterwards. You can’t find the limits and the boundaries of the car in those conditions.”

Speaking to reporters before the Austrian GP weekend, Vowles elaborated: “For me at the moment, Logan is here in Austria and at Silverstone next week. Two tracks where he is the strongest in his junior career. He knows the tracks without a doubt. He has driven the car enough that he should be comfortable.

“What you’re now going to see, with Logan, is a strength coming through and a performance differentiator that closes down,” predicted Vowles.

27-year-old Albon has been a strong benchmark for Sargeant to chase, but it should not be forgotten that in the 38 races as Verstappen’s teammate, he was humbled if not destroyed by the ever-improving Dutch ace, a couple of years his junior.

To the question: Alex was destroyed by Max, where is he now?

Vowles: Albon is performing, Sargeant no typical F1 rookie albon verstappen F1 Grand Prix of Australia - Previews

Vowles responded: “I know Alex since 2016. He is coming out of his shell. My relationship with him is a strong one. I’ll tell him when he’s doing very, very well. And complement him. When he needs to work more, I’ll tell him he needs to work more but in a constructive way.

“Alex is very much relaxed. He knows who he is. And when he performs he knows is performing at a very high level. What he did in Canada, there aren’t many drivers that would have done it to that level. It was a really difficult situation and he’s performing,” declared Vowles, who knows a thing or two about great F1 drivers, thanks to his chapter at Mercedes.

As for his ideal (imaginary) F1 driver line-up of all time, Vowles said: “I would take Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell. Of course, you have to find a relationship that works with them… In the end, I think the relationship wouldn’t work if they would drive every day of the week. But Mansell and Senna would be my perfect lineup.”

For now, he has Albon and Sargeant. As for the American improving on tracks he knows, the jury is still out on that one and will have the opportunity to improve as Vowles expected. Indeed Austria was better for the American.

As for Albon, he is certainly in sparkling form despite what the six points in nine races may suggest. As mentioned by Vowles,, he is doing impressive things with the Williams which his teammate cannot emulate yet.